Timeline of Scottish history

This is a Timeline of Scottish history, comprising important legal and territorial changes and political events in SCOTLAND and its predecessor states. To read about the background to these events, see History of Scotland. See also the list of Scottish monarchs, list of British monarchs, list of First Ministers of Scotland, and list of years in Scotland.[1]

This is a dynamic list and may never be able to satisfy particular standards for completeness. You can help by expanding it with reliably sourced entries.

1st century

Year Date Event
84 Romans defeat Caledonians at the Battle of Mons Graupius.

2nd century

Year Date Event
122 Romans construct the Hadrian's Wall.
143 Romans construct the Antonine Wall.
163 Romans withdraw south to Trimontium and Hadrian's Wall.

3rd century

Year Date Event
300 The term Pict is first recorded in describing the federated tribes invaded by Constantius Chlorus.

4th century

Year Date Event
397 Traditional date at which Saint Ninian establishes a Christian mission at Whithorn.

5th century

Year Date Event
470 Votadini peoples form the kingdom of Gododdin in the region north of the River Tweed.

6th century

Year Date Event
547 Angles capture the Northumbrian fortress at Bamburgh and found the kingdom of Bernicia.
563 Saint Columba founds a monastery at Iona and begins his mission to the northern Picts.
574 Áedán mac Gabráin begins reign over the Gaelic kingdom of Dál Riata.
575 Western Scotland is granted independence from the Irish Dalriada, after a convention at Drum Ceatt near Derry.
580 Riderch I of Alt Clut rules region later known as the kingdom of Strathclyde.
584 Bruide son of Maelchon dies.

7th century

Year Date Event
604 Æthelfrith unites Bernicia and Deira to form the kingdom of Northumbria.
638 Northumbrians capture Edinburgh from Gododdin.
680 Trumwine Bishop of Abercorn.
681 Bruide mac Bili, King of Fortriu, campaigns against Orkney
685 Pictish King Bruide mac Bili defeats Ecgfrith of Northumbria at the Battle of Dun Nechtain, halting the northern expansion of Northumbria.
693 Bruide mac Bili dies
697 Bruide mac Der-Ilei among the signatories of the Cáin Adomnáin.

8th century

Year Date Event
717 Nechtan mac Der-Ilei expels Ionan clergy from Pictland and adopts Roman usages with the aid of Bishop Curetán; masons sent by Abbot Ceolfrid of Monkwearmouth-Jarrow Priory help build stone churches at Restenneth, Rosemarkie and elsewhere in eastern Scotland.
724 Drust and Nechtan mac Der-Ilei fight civil war (to 729)
732 Death of Nechtan mac Der-Ilei; Óengus mac Fergusa becomes King of the Picts.
735 Óengus mac Fergusa, King of the Picts, campaigns against Dál Riata, and seizes and burns the royal centre of Dunadd
736 Battle of Cnoc Coirpi between Fortriu and Dál Riata
741 Battle of Druimm Cathmail between Fortriu and Dál Riata; the "smiting of Dál Riata", in which Dál Riata is subdued by Óengus mac Fergusa
747 St Andrews founded by this time, death of Abbot Túathalán.
750 Picts defeated by Britons at the Battle of Catohic
756 Óengus mac Fergusa allied with the English of Northumbria attacks the Britons; the English army is destroyed
761 Death of Óengus mac Fergusa.
763 Battle takes place in Fortriu between Ciniod and Áed Find; result unknown.
778 Death of Áed Find, King of Dál Riata
794 Annals of Ulster report the "wasting" of "all the islands of Britain by gentiles [Vikings]"

9th century

Year Date Event
802 Iona burned by Vikings
806 The monasteries under Iona are attacked by Vikings, killing 68 monks.
820 Death of Caustantín mac Fergusa
829 Abbot Diarmait, abbot of Iona, goes to Alba with relics of St Columba.
831 Diarmait of Iona goes to Ireland with relics of St Columba.
839 Eóganan mac Óengusa and his brother Bran killed in battle with Vikings, end of dominance of Fortriu.
843 Death of Kenneth mac Alpin, King of the Picts; "union of Picts and Scots" traditionally dated from his reign.
870 Alt Clut—Dumbarton Rock — captured by the Norse-Gael or Viking leaders Amlaíb Conung and Ímar after a six-month of siege
878 Kenneth mac Alpin's son Áed killed; Giric becomes king.
889 Death of Giric; Domnall mac Causantín, grandson of Kenneth, becomes king.
890 Exodus of the Strathclyde Britons to Gwynedd (in Wales)

10th century

Year Date Event
900 Causantín mac Áeda succeeds Domnall mac Causantín.
937 Battle of Brunanburh English victory in 937 by the army of Æthelstan, King of England, and his brother Edmund over the combined armies of Olaf III Guthfrithson, the Norse-Gael King of Dublin, Constantine II, King of Scots, and Owen I, King of Strathclyde.
940 Saint Catroe of Metz leaves Scotland.
943 Causantín mac Áeda abdicates to become a culdee at St Andrews.
952 Death of Causantín mac Áeda.
954 Indulf captures Edinburgh from Northumbria.

11th century

Year Date Event
1058 After defeating Mac Bethad and Lulach, Máel Coluim III is proclaimed king.

12th century

Year Date Event
1124 David I becomes king and introduces the feudal system of landholding to much of Scotland.
1128 David I founds Holyrood Abbey at Edinburgh.
1136 Glasgow Cathedral (St Kentigern's, begun 1123) consecrated in the presence of David I.
1153 Somerled sacks Glasgow and its vicinity.
1156 Somerled defeats the Norse King of Mann and the Isles, establishing his own semi-independent rule as ri Innse Gall-King of the Hebrides.
1164 Somerled is defeated by Malcolm IV in the Battle of Renfrew.
1174 William I signs the Treaty of Falaise in which he swears allegiance to Henry II of England.

13th century

Year Date Event
1234 Galloway's independent existence ends with the death of Alan, Lord of Galloway.
1237 Southern border of Scotland established in the Treaty of York.
1263 Scots defeat Norwegians in the Battle of Largs.
1266 Norway cedes the Hebrides and Isle of Man to Scotland in the Treaty of Perth.
1292 Edward I of England intervenes in Scottish affairs and grants the Scottish throne to John Balliol.
1297 Andrew de Moravia and William Wallace lead the Scots to victory over England at Stirling Bridge.

14th century

Year Date Event
1305 Wallace is executed in London.
1314 Robert the Bruce defeats the English at Bannockburn.
1320 Nobles assert Scottish independence in the Declaration of Arbroath.
1328 Treaty of Northampton. England recognises Scottish independence.
1329 Death of Robert the Bruce. His 5-year-old son, David II succeeds him
1371 Robert II becomes first Stewart king.

15th century

Year Date Event
1402 English defeat Scots in the Battle of Nesbit Moor and the Battle of Humbleton Hill.
1413 Foundation of the University of St Andrews.
1451 Establishment of the University of Glasgow.
1468 Denmark cedes Orkney and Shetland from Norway to Scotland.
1493 Lordship of the Isles abolished. In 1540 the title was reserved to the crown.
1495 Creation of the University of Aberdeen (King's College).
1496 Education Act of 1496 makes education compulsory for barons and wealthy landowners.

16th century

Year Date Event
1513 James IV and thousands of Scots are killed at Flodden.
1532 Creation of the College of Justice and the Court of Session.
1542 Death of James V
1559 John Knox returns to Scotland from Geneva to promote Calvinism.
1560 Parliament legislates Protestant Reformation of the Church of Scotland.
1561 Mary, Queen of Scots returns from France.
1568 Mary, Queen of Scots flees to England following the defeat of her army at the Battle of Langside..
1579 James VI takes over government from his regent, James Douglas.
1582 Establishment of the University of Edinburgh by Royal Charter.
1587 Mary is beheaded by the order of Queen Elizabeth I of England.
1589 James VI marries Anne of Denmark in Oslo.
1592 James VI enacts the "Golden Act" recognising the power of Presbyterianism within the Scottish church.

17th century

Year Date Event
1603 The Union of the Crowns: James VI of Scotland becomes James I of England.
1614 John Napier invents logarithms and publishes a book promoting their use in mathematics.
1618 James VI forces episcopacy on the Church of Scotland through the Five Articles of Perth.
1633 Education Act of 1633 ordains a school in every parish (partially successful).
1638 Scottish Covenanters rebel against Charles I.
1639 First Bishops' War
1640 Second Bishops' War
1642 First English Civil War (While it is known as an English Civil war it was in fact very much a British war) (to 1646)
1643 The Solemn League and Covenant promises Scots army to aid English parliamentarians against the king.
1648 Second English Civil War (to 1649)
1649 Third English Civil War (to 1651)
1650 Southern Scotland occupied by the English Commonwealth's New Model Army following Scottish defeats at the Battle of Dunbar 1650 and the Battle of Hamilton during the Third English Civil War
1651 3 September Battle of Worcester was a victory for New Model Army over the last major Royalist field army. Most of the Royalist officers and men who fought at Worcester were Scottish. For the next ten years, apart from some mopping up operations and a few insurrections, (all of which were easily suppressed) there was not further military resistance to rule from London.
1654 5 MayOliver Cromwell issued several a proclamation at the Mercat Cross in Edinburgh. Oliver Cromwell was the Protector of England Ireland and Scotland, that Scotland was united with the Commonwealth of England (Tender of Union) and there was a general pardon with some exceptions for the people of Scotland for any actions taken during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms (Cromwell's Act of Grace).
1660 14 May The monarchy is restored in Scotland and Scotland resumes its status as a separate kingdom.
1661 May Four men were executed for high treason for their actions against the Crown during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. Archibald Campbell, 8th Earl of Argyll, James Guthrie, William Govan were all executed in May 1661 (the fourth Archibald Johnston, Lord Warriston fled abroad but returned to Scotland and was executed on 22 July 1663).
1661 6 September The restoration of the Episcopacy was proclaimed by the Privy Council of Scotland.
1662 During the parliamentary session the Church of Scotland was restored as the national Church and all office-holders were required to renounced the Covenant.
1662 9 SeptemberThe Scottish parliament passed the Act of indemnity and oblivion. It was a general pardon for most types of crime that may have been committed by Scots, between 1 January 1637 and before 1 September 1660, during what the Act called "the late troubles" (the Wars of the Three Kingdoms and the Interregnum).
1679 James, Duke of Monmouth defeats Covenanters at the Battle of Bothwell Brig.
1689 Jacobite First Rising highlanders defeats army of William III at Killiecrankie, but are halted at Dunkeld.
The Claim of Right and the re-establishment of Presbyterianism.
1692 Massacre of Glencoe.
1695 The Bank of Scotland is created by Act of Parliament.
1696 Education Act of 1696 ordains a school in every parish (successful; act governs education until the 1872 act).

18th century

Year Date Event
1707 The Union of the Parliaments: the Acts of Union are passed by both the Scottish and English parliaments.
1715 Jacobite rising.
1745 Jacobite rising.
1746 The Battle of Culloden ends the last Jacobite rising.
1748 David Hume publishes An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding.
1754 Joseph Black discovers "fixed air" (carbon dioxide).
1762 Land tenure reform leads to the Highland Clearances and massive emigration for several decades.
1769 James Watt patents idea for separate condensing chamber in the Steam engine.
1776 Adam Smith publishes The Wealth of Nations.

19th century

Year Date Event
1802 John Playfair publishes summary of James Hutton's theories of Geology.
1805 The Glasgow Herald newspaper first published.
1817 The Scotsman newspaper first published.
1820 The "Radical War".
1822 Visit of King George IV to Scotland organized by Sir Walter Scott.
1832 The Reform Act enlarges the franchise.
1843 The Disruption in the Church of Scotland (over the issue of patronage).
1846 Beginning of the ten-year Highland Potato Famine.
1847 The United Presbyterian Church of Scotland is established.
1864 James Clerk Maxwell presents equations describing electromagnetic fields.
1874 Patronage abolished in the Church of Scotland.
1878 Collapse of the City of Glasgow Bank
1879 William Ewart Gladstone conducts the Midlothian campaign as part of a political comeback.
The Tay Bridge Disaster.
1885 Creation of the Scottish Office and the post of Secretary for Scotland, later Secretary of State for Scotland.
1890 Opening of the Forth Railway Bridge.
1896 Opening of the Glasgow Subway.

20th century

Year Date Event
1929 The Church of Scotland and the United Free Church of Scotland unite.
1934 Scottish National Party founded.
1938 The Empire Exhibition, Scotland 1938 is held at Bellahouston Park, Glasgow.
1941 The Clydebank Blitz (13–15 March).
1943 Creation of the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board to bring electricity to all parts of the Highlands and Islands.
1945 First Scottish Nationalist MP is elected.
1947 Nationalisation of the railways – the Scottish Region of British Railways is created.
The first Edinburgh International Festival is held.
1950 The Stone of Destiny is removed from Westminster Abbey.
1957 Scottish Television starts broadcasting.
1968 The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland permits the ordination of women as ministers.
1975 Local government reorganisation (replacing Counties and Burghs for administrative purposes with Regions and Districts).
1978 Launch of BBC Radio Scotland.
1979 Referendum to create a Scottish Assembly wins a majority but fails to win 40% of electorate. Act is therefore repealed without being put into effect.
1988 Terrorists blow up Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie with the loss of 270 lives, including 11 residents of the town.
1994 Local government reorganisation (replacing the Regions and Districts with single-tier councils).
1996 The Stone of Destiny is permanently returned to Scotland, to be housed in Edinburgh Castle.
1997 Newly elected Labour UK Government under the leadership of Scots-born Prime Minister Tony Blair legislates for a referendum on a devolved Scottish Parliament which is passed by a large majority.
1999 A Scottish Parliament sits for the first time in 272 years. Donald Dewar of the Scottish Labour Party elected as First Minister and forms Scottish Executive in coalition with the Scottish Liberal Democrats.

21st century

Year Date Event
2004 9 October Opening of the new Scottish Parliament Building.
2007 The Scottish National Party become the largest party in the Scottish Parliament and forms a minority government.
2011 The Scottish National Party under Alex Salmond gain an overall majority of the Scottish Parliament.
2012 Rangers FC enter liquidation process after 140 years of history
2013 The Church of Scotland's ruling General Assembly votes to allow actively gay men and women to become ministers.
2014 18 September Scotland has a referendum on national independence. Result is to remain part of the UK, by 55% to 45%.
2015 8 May The Scottish National Party wins 50% of the popular vote in the UK General Election, securing 56 out of the 59 seats in Scotland.

See also


  1. David Ross, Chronology of Scottish History (2002) has details for every year.
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